View Full Version : getting picky eaters to try more

Denise D
14-05-2010, 12:33 PM
Hi all,

I've had a four-year-old lo start with me last week and she only likes foods like spaghetti hoops and fish fingers. Her attitude towards other foods is starting to rub off on my 5y dd! I have tried to get them both involved in making dinner by using a recipe off the cbeebies website from "i can cook". They were both going, "Eww, I don't like this," as we were making the dish. They were egging each other on about how "yuck" the food was. :rolleyes: I am determined to offer a variety of different foods as I usually do, and am hoping to get her to become a bit more adventurous. Does anyone have a suggestion for a good cookbook or website for cooking with children? I don't want to spend more than about 45 minutes cooking with them, as I have other children to look after.

By the way, the rule in my house is that I don't pressure anyone to eat, but if they don't eat their dinner, they won't get anything else until the next meal or snack time.

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks! :)

14-05-2010, 12:43 PM
Lots of recipes on here - you should find something they will like and they can help you make it!


Miffy xx

14-05-2010, 12:45 PM
my d.d 3yr old is very fussy wont eat potatoes any kind so lives off plain,rice,pasta cant put anythink in it then has a plate with fish/meat then she knows as refuses to eat veg she has to eat cucumber and raw carrots she will eat beans and spaghetti. hard isnt it wish she wqould eat a normal family meal but the more i tryed harder it got so thought this was best way.

Denise D
14-05-2010, 12:53 PM
Miffy- Thanks, this site is great. I've already chosen a couple dishes for next week.

Sandy- I know how tough this is. My 5 yo dd was extremely fussy at 3yo, and I just persevered with serving her a variety of food, and the "nothing else" rule. She eats much more now, but still not everything. It is difficult that this other lo has started to egg her on to be fussy again. Grrr! :rolleyes:

14-05-2010, 12:54 PM
My dd has been a picky fussy eater since she was born and is not much better now!

She is given the same food as the family / minded children but she can adapt it.

For example, if she wants the meat with bread instead of potatoes that's fine.

If she wants peas instead of other veg as she will eat them, then again that's fine.

If she would prefer a banana with milky custard to veg then again that's ok.

However she knows that if she doesn't eat what she says she likes, then no snacks.

Children always get a milky or fruity pudding here.

Like you, we don't withhold food. I was told by a child psych that's the worst thing you can do.

Food isn't a treat or a punishment it's a necessity.

Maybe work on compromises... if you try this, you can have this that you know you like with it. It works for us.

If you like bread, try it with cheese on top... leads to if you like bread and cheese, try it with little bits of tomato as well... if you like that you're a step away from a pizza.

Really slowly adding little bits can be better than preparing lovely dishes that she will poke at.

Hth :D

14-05-2010, 12:55 PM
You're welcome - hope it helps. Hopefully your daughter won't copy mindee for long!

Miffy xx

14-05-2010, 01:13 PM
My boys are kind of picky in that they won't eat ANY form of potato!

but they do eat lots of fruit etc

I find they are much more willing to try if you put only 1 piece on, so i give them macaroni cheese with 1 bit of carrot and some peas...or 1 green bean...my eldest now like runner beans and will ask for more

Growing our own has helped too, and cooking in that my eldest will eat the raw ingredients..pepper, onion :eek: etc but not the cooked thing!

14-05-2010, 01:14 PM
I have a little boy who was like this. I did him a chart and every day he's with me (3 days) he has a tick for either new food (trying it), vegetables and fruit. If he gets enough ticks over the week on his last day he gets a certificate to take home. He has come on in leaps and bounds and will try anything now. He still likes to see his ticks and get his certificate though :) . His mum is over the moon with his development and I'm so proud of him. He is 4 and half.


Denise D
14-05-2010, 01:16 PM
Sarah- Thank you. That's an interesting idea. Do you find that mindees ask for substitutions as well like your dd if there is something they are not keen on? I might experiment with this once I know a bit more about what lo likes. I just don't want everyone bargaining with me about what they are having and having to make several different options for each meal. :D

14-05-2010, 03:14 PM
Sarah- Thank you. That's an interesting idea. Do you find that mindees ask for substitutions as well like your dd if there is something they are not keen on? I might experiment with this once I know a bit more about what lo likes. I just don't want everyone bargaining with me about what they are having and having to make several different options for each meal. :D

No they don't strangely enough, they eat what they are offered.

If they ask for bread, I say yes of course but they need to finish their meal first... it's just another carbohydrate like potatoes / rice etc that's already on their plate and then go off on a tangent about something else.

If she has something like the bananas, she'll eat them later when the little ones have gone so everyone at the table has the same.

Hth :D

Denise D
14-05-2010, 05:15 PM
Alice- Thanks for the idea. I tried a version of this tonight. I gave lo a sticker for trying the dinner I made tonight (something she refused to eat last week) and told her that she will always get a sticker if she tries the food she is given. She ended up eating more than half of it, which I deem a great success. I may do a more formal chart if that seems like it will be a good incentive for her.

14-05-2010, 05:58 PM
My mindee aged 3.5 is very fussy. Mum is vegetarian, dad isn't and neither is mindee, but she's got it in her head she doesn't like meat.

She would happily eat cheese sandwich on white bread for every meal. She sometimes has biscuit sandwiches at home for a bit of variety?!?!?!

Anyway, after she'd been with me a few weeks (only 1 day a week) having a cheese sandwich every time I approached the parents about giving her a varied diet. They were all for it, and were pleased I would tackle it for them, they actually said it's easier for them if I do it!!!

So I just made something different for her - nothing too adventurous - and plonked it on the table with no advance warning. She was not impressed and started pretend crying. I just said that there was no need for the silly noise, and she didn't have to eat it all, but I would like her to have at least one forkful. So she did! And then i asked her to have one more, and one more! At any point in time she could have said no, but she didn't!? Eventually it was gone. It took an hour! And afterwards she got 3 stickers - one for her diary, one for her t-shirt and one for her coat! And since then we've not looked back. I'm buying lots of stickers now!

Interestingly, she's still a fuss pot at home?!?!?!

14-05-2010, 06:45 PM
I have a son who was a very fussy eater, has got better, but is still fussy but this is possibly down to him being possible autistic.
I dont serve anything different , all children are given the same meal, I do try and cater for specific likes and dislikes but not for fussy eaters or those that just 'dont fancy it'.
I have one 3yrold that is going through a stage of saying 'no thanks' when i ask him if he wants lunch then when he sits with the others who are eating lunch says ' I want that' every time the crisp come out, today I asked him 3 times and he said 'no lunch' so i didnt do him any and when he said ' I want some' i told him it was too late cause i had already made lunch and there wasnt any left, he was a bit upset but not actualy that bothered, what bothered him more was when he couldnt have a biscuit at snack time cause he hadnt eaten lunch. I ask him to sit with the others at lunch time as i feel its unfair that he carrys on playing whilst the others are eating.
The other day he ate his sandwichs then ask for an apple which i sliced for him, he took a bite out of each slice then said 'youghurt now?' of course he ddint get youghurt and at snack time was given the apple he left and 'didnt like' from lunch. he ate it all,,,
Kids will eat if their hungry and I am not prepared to be mucked about or to do several different lunchs because they are fussy.